1.12: Today’s parliamentary session with Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri in the chair began at 1 pm and ended 10 minutes later. It was adjourned till 10.30 am on Friday.
Monday: President Maithripala Sirisena stressed at the party leaders’ meeting held yesterday that it was not appropriate and transparent to take a voice vote on a serious motion aimed at unseating a government.
Instead, he said Parliament should go for a division by name or electronic voting to resolve. He said it was a system acceptable to the general public and the international community at large and that a voice vote was not transparent although Standing Orders provided for it.
The President, in his address, said that those who were educated would never endorse such a turbulence situation in Parliament. He requested both sides to strike a compromise and act with some understanding to avoid clashes. He also requested the parties represented at the meeting to refrain from bringing huge crowds to hold protests near Parliament.
12.36: A Party Leaders Meeting commenced at the Parliamentary complex a short while ago to finalise today’s agenda in Parliament.
Friday: Parliamentary sessions were marred by violence for the third consecutive day on Friday with government MPs forcibly occupying the Speaker’s chair and delaying the day’s business
They laid siege to the Speaker’s Chair even before the sessions could begin and protested against the Speaker shouting slogans for not ordering the arrest of UNP MPs Palitha Thewaraperuma and Ranjan Ramanayake who they alleged had smuggled knives into the Chamber on the previous day.
Government MP Arundika Fernando was seen occupying the Speaker’s Chair even before the sessions began.
The protest went on for nearly an hour and there was a delay in the arrival of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. There was also a delay in bringing in the Mace into the House for the start of the day's session. Finally, the Speaker, escorted by police officers, arrived in the Chamber only to be disturbed by some legislators.
The parliamentary employees carried a special seat to be placed in the Chamber for the Speaker to occupy promoting some angry reactions from certain members who smashed that chair.
They even assaulted a worker with the Chair injuring his head. Then the government MPs started attacking the police. The commotion left one policeman and a worker injured.
Opposition MPs also turned aggressive and hurled back the copies of reports kept on their tables and other items injuring Minister Johnston Fernando.
Amid the commotion, TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran moved a resolution to suspend Standing Orders while Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake presented an amended version of the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The Speaker then called for a voice vote and based on it announced that the motion was passed. The MPs then began hitting each other with various objects.
The drama took place in the presence of foreign diplomats who were in the gallery. Some of the other visitors presumably supporters of the opposition started cheering and gearing at the government members.
Meanwhile, the government dismissed the claim made by the opposition that the no-confidence motion was passed. Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said a no-confidence motion can be taken up for debate only after five days from the day it has been handed over as per the Standing Orders. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardane)
2.45: The parliament session was adjourned till 1 pm on November 19th Monday after the Speaker was thrown at objects and disruptions caused by the government MPs.
2.56: JVP MP Vijitha Herath had also come under a chili powder attack.
2.52: MP Kumara Welgama denounced the actions of his fellow government MPs and said this is not how lawmakers should behave.
2.50: Meanwhile, Minister Wimal Weerawansa has said that Speaker would be sent home, UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva said.
“MP Weerawansa is abusing the judiciary and says will not accept order.President Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa are forcibly taking over Parliament. I wonder if this has ever happened in any democracy,” he tweeted.
He also said Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi was leading the demonstration saying “they will not leave power” laying siege on Parliament and occupying Speakers chair.
2.47: UNP MP Gamini Jayawickrama Perera had been attacked with chili powder by the government MPs.
2.35: Speaker Karu Jayasuriya enters into chamber with police protection but leaves soon after unruly Government MPs threw objects at Speaker and police personnel.
2.01: The parliamentary session which was scheduled to be commenced at 1.30 pm today is getting delayed because of the demonstration which is being held inside the house by government MPs.
1.50: Government MP Arundhika Fernando sits in the Speaker’s Chair. Government MPs urge action against MP Palitha Thewarapperuma.
1.37: The party leaders meeting came to an end without reaching an agreement, Minister Dinesh Gunawardane said.
1.30: All MPs who are entering into Parliament Chamber had been subjected to a body search by the security officers. It was yesterday reported that MP Palitha Thewarapperuma had allegedly brought a knife into the Chamber.
1.29: Prior to the commencement of today’s parliament session, government MPs were seen shouting slogans surrounding the Speaker’s chair inside parliament chamber.
The demonstration organised by the United National Party (UNP) against the continued suppression of democracy is being held at the Lipton Circus in Town Hall, Colombo. A number of supporters of the UNP and MPs were seen marching towards the venue of the demonstration.
UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva said they have the power both inside and outside Parliament.
“Fake Prime Minister better listen to the people and respect democracy. You have no confidence in the Legislature. Go for God’s sake, Go!,” Dr. De Silva tweeted.
Addressing the rally, MP Patali Champika Ranawaka urged the government to hold both the General Election and the Presidential Election together.
“We would defeat both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa will be defeated by more than 7 million of votes this time. For the first time in the history, a president has changed his political camp. We will respond to this next time," he said.
Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said the President, who speaks about the Central Bank Bond scam, had forgotten about the Hedging Deal. He urged the President to follow the correct path.
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader MP Rauff Hakeem challenged the President to go for a presidential election. “We will show our trump cards then. We safeguarded the sovereignty of the people," he told the UNP rally.
UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa challenged the President and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to face an election in Parliament.
"We are not afraid of guns or ammunitions. We will win through democracy. All they know is how to oppress the people and issue threats," he said.